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False teacher in Holland

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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby shargom on Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:28 am

What I propose... is posting this kind of information as "anonymous" user, so reader will be more objective towards these kind of "news". You could post a topic about importance of beating the wife and the children, and I believe that others would applaud you for your wisdom. Most times reader respect you for your title and rank, not for the message you write.
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby Jugglesaurus on Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:16 am

I think if someone publically proclaims a title which turns out to be false, it's fair for that to be public too.
I also think this is a fair topic to discuss in general terms, as it shows that titles like this CAN be claimed falsely. Whether you think a formally bestowed title is one thing - the fact that people in large organisations are falsely claiming them sometimes is another.
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby Michaeljc on Tue Jul 09, 2013 11:18 am

I really do not like exposing myself like this. But, if people insist they have the right to discuss reports on others like this, I feel I have a right too.

There is a fundamental principle regarding justice at stake here and I am astonished that so few see it. I can only surmise that those that do stay silent.

Before you lock someone in the stocks and throw rotten vegetables at him at least ask him what he has to say in his own defence. He is now accused of causing mental breakdown in a student. Do you realise just how much research and investigation would have to be conducted by mental health professionals before that would be accepted in a court of law? That sort of charge would have to be proven far, far beyond reasonable doubt - for very good reason.

I bet that if I cared to sniff around, I could find a bunch of people that would say bad things about any teacher here, or anyone else here, for that matter - including myself.

For once put yourselves in this man’s shoes. Is everything that has been claimed the truth? I bet it isn’t.

With respect

Michael
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby lobster on Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:23 pm

Linda Anderson wrote:I've heard zen teachers tell me that you can learn even from a bad teacher


It is not all about learning. If you have a Zen Mistress available, send them in plain clothes to the available cults, false and new agey preachers. They should know what to do.

Should zen masters be a little more hibitsu and kept in the closet more? Just a thought. :heya:
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby Kojip on Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:50 pm

Sevidal wrote:So who will decide who is a false Teacher. Does that mean the one saying that the Teacher is false is not False himself? It seems it so familiar like in Christianity almost every ones church is the true church, the others are not true church. They are the true christians but the others are not true christians. They know their bible very well and their's is the true word of God but others are not.
It is so familiar because you can hear it almost everywhere.


This teacher misrepresented who he speaks for. He does not, apparently, represent the lineage he claims to. The Buddhadharma isn't owned by anyone. It is not the trademark property (like "big mind process") of any lineage. So this fellow could have been perfectly legitimate if he made no pretense and just spoke for his own practice and experience, instead of claiming to have received permission to teach from a lineage. Then the proof of the pudding would be in the eating, and not in the cook's claim to pedigree. There is nothing wrong with being a Buddhist lay teacher if there is no false claim involved.

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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby Kojip on Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:56 pm

Linda Anderson wrote:
Kojip wrote:You can call Canada... Quebec or Ontario, or "that woodlot", or beaver lodge, if you like. Just don't call us moose ridden.. we're touchy about that. :lol2:

But semi-seriously, I didn't know anyone here was a "foreigner".
:Namaste:


Careful now, I have to admit my love for Mina Moose... but she lived in Wyoming. How can you have too many?? Just give the guy his The Netherlands.


Got no problem with moose, Linda. :) :Namaste:
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby unsui on Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:07 pm

Michaeljc wrote:I really do not like exposing myself like this. But, if people insist they have the right to discuss reports on others like this, I feel I have a right too.

There is a fundamental principle regarding justice at stake here and I am astonished that so few see it. I can only surmise that those that do stay silent.

Before you lock someone in the stocks and throw rotten vegetables at him at least ask him what he has to say in his own defence. He is now accused of causing mental breakdown in a student. Do you realise just how much research and investigation would have to be conducted by mental health professionals before that would be accepted in a court of law? That sort of charge would have to be proven far, far beyond reasonable doubt - for very good reason.

I bet that if I cared to sniff around, I could find a bunch of people that would say bad things about any teacher here, or anyone else here, for that matter - including myself.

For once put yourselves in this man’s shoes. Is everything that has been claimed the truth? I bet it isn’t.

With respect

Michael

Michael,
Re: the woman's breakdown. She has been in treatment (medical + therapy) after her experiences with this teacher. She is a person that I was intimately in touch with, who may or may not have had things brewing before she became a student. I would not write something like this if I had not been witness to it. She chose another Way after she overcame the resultant depression and requested that no Buddhists any longer should be in touch with her. Would this have happened if she had had a koan practice with a so-called authorized teacher? I don't know.

Posted above, in one of the press releases, IS his response, which also, of course, has been made public in the Netherlands:
Since recently, there appears to be a big difference in view about the meaning that is being attributed to the Gold Brocate Rakusu that I received publicly from Sokun Tsushimoto Roshi in 1999. It was given to me after years of good and intense cooperation, formally, as a proof of being ‘a competent leader of zazen group in Holland’. On top of that I received permission to continue koan study with my students, to lead sesshin and to educate Zen teachers, all of which is the privilege of (belongs exclusively to) Zen Masters. Also, Tsushimoto suggested the title of Dai Osho (this is an old and presently unofficial Zen Masters title in Japan). I regret that the explanations are now suddenly so different (from each other) and it astonished me very much, because from 1987 to 2003, there always was a very good connection. Around 2003, Tsushimoto exchanged the Zen world for that of medical education to become a doctor. After he left the Zen world and dissolved all contacts with the Zen world (See online: Japan Times artikel on Tsushimoto) I recently heard he resurfaced in London and resumed the contact in December 2012 on my initiative. We spoke to each other in London, where Tsushimoto worked as a medical researcher at the time. There it became clear that our views on how Zen should be in the west, had grown far apart. When Tsushimoto asked me to remove his name from our site, I did that. All in all it made me come to the decision to break with this Japanese line so I can continue to shape our work within Zen.nl, highly evaluated by hundreds of students. See press release.


All the press releases I have included here have been sent to Rients Ritskes. There is nothing here that will be new to him, except that they are in English, maybe.

Please visit both of these sites and search via this man's name. He has been interviewed and spoken about this case: http://boeddhistischdagblad.nl/ and http://www.bosrtv.nl

Blurb for the broadcast, 22. June 2013, translated by google:
Rients Ritskes and gold brocade rakusu
The Dutch Zen master Rients Ritskes is accused of title fraud. He has never authorized, it is said, has only a few months in a Zen monastery seated and should therefore appoint a zenleraren. No small feat, because Ritskes is the founder of zen.nl, one of the largest Dutch Sangha's. Actually, it's his business.

In April of this year suddenly disappeared the name of his Japanese Zen master Roshi Sokun Tsushimoto of website zen.nl and all titles. And Ritskes announced break. All ties with the Japanese mother monastery Then there was silence, on an endless stream of rumors after. Now Rients Ritskes speaks for the first time, about his motives and ambitions.


There is also an article from the same date, in which he speaks, but there is not much new in it: http://boeddhistischdagblad.nl/rients-ritskes-ik-bevind-mij-in-goed-gezelschap/
I can't understand Dutch, so I am in the dark about what he says in the interview, but in the article, it is reported that he compares himself to Hakuin. In that and other articles, he admits that there basically is no Buddhism in what he is teaching:
Ritskes said today: "I feel still a child of the Japanese Zen tradition." However, he dodged the question of whether he had been unable to save when he was just going to give meditation classes without having to rely on zen much misery. He feels inspired by Buddhism, but gave under a barrage of questions that Buddhism does not play a major role in the courses Zen.nl.


Again, I am not saying that he is a good teacher, a bad teacher, or no teacher. I am just reporting that he said that he received Dharma transmission from a Zen master who now says that he never has given Dharma transmission. Likewise, he has reported that he has trained in a Zen monastery, where the written record shows that he has not trained as he claimed.

Does he do good? Quite probably, in that a whole lot of people have learned to sit still, breathe, and examine "what is".

Also, as I wrote somewhere above, he could just have chosen to give his teaching honestly, with no false claims. Why claim to be something one is not?
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby unsui on Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:17 pm

Guo Gu wrote:
unsui wrote:
Guo Gu wrote:unsui, do you harbor any aversion toward him?

Searching honestly, there is sadness about some of the consequences of his actions (a woman having a nervous breakdown, for example) and maybe some frustration when I meet people who Facebook about practicing Zen with his firm. I don't harbor feelings towards him.


unsui, i feel sad for him. you're kind, know right from wrong, and truth from lie. you posted to help those to be more careful. but the person in question don't truly know the difference (or enough that he cares when he lies). in our heart, no need to separate victims and perpetrator. yet, what needs to be done needs to be done for all in this situation.

but as practitioners, what is true, false, good, harm?--this situation is a genjo koan where judgments have no place.

be well,
guo gu

Thank-you, Guo Gu. What you write hits the mark. Dropping judgments, there is compassion in being.
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby Meido on Tue Jul 09, 2013 2:48 pm

Thanks to all, I appreciate greatly some of the points raised.

Michael, I agree with much of what you wrote and have shared your discomfort in the past. Guo Gu's comments are appreciated also.

And I do appreciate Unsui's raising this broader issue around false claims of certification/title. As I said, certifications/titles even when legitimately received are not a guarantee. But I would agree that a situation in which a teacher (possibly) is falsely claiming these things merits careful exploration and, as a last resort, exposition. Ideally this would be done by the folks directly involved, for example the supposed certifying authority. In this case that appears to be what's happened. Ideally also it would be done, I think, with an intention that the false claimant might be spurred to correct his/her misunderstandings and "return to the fold" so to speak.

Finally, I think it important to remind once more - since we're discussing specifically a claim of Rinzai dharma transmission - that such things take a somewhat standardized format within the Japanese Rinzai tradition and are accompanied by very specific documentation. So the truthfulness of such claims is relatively easy to ascertain...if an inquirer first gains sufficient knowledge of what to ask.

Recently I've become aware of possible similar cases striking closer to home, and so this whole thread has been helpful to me. Thanks again.

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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby unsui on Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:09 pm

Michaeljc wrote:I really do not like exposing myself like this. But, if people insist they have the right to discuss reports on others like this, I feel I have a right too.

There is a fundamental principle regarding justice at stake here and I am astonished that so few see it. I can only surmise that those that do stay silent.

Before you lock someone in the stocks and throw rotten vegetables at him at least ask him what he has to say in his own defence. He is now accused of causing mental breakdown in a student. Do you realise just how much research and investigation would have to be conducted by mental health professionals before that would be accepted in a court of law? That sort of charge would have to be proven far, far beyond reasonable doubt - for very good reason.

I bet that if I cared to sniff around, I could find a bunch of people that would say bad things about any teacher here, or anyone else here, for that matter - including myself.

For once put yourselves in this man’s shoes. Is everything that has been claimed the truth? I bet it isn’t.

With respect

Michael

Michael,
I have only posted what has been validated or experienced personally. I do this with an open heart. Likewise, I have posted the teacher-in-question's response, indicating a gross misunderstanding between the people involved. This is not spurious gossip.
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby Carol on Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:05 pm

I think where there are unauthorized teachers posing as authorized teachers that it is an important service to make this fact publicly known, so that those looking for teachers will be aware of these facts.

It is clear from what unsui has posted that this is the case with this particular person because the claims have been checked out with the teacher he claimed had authorized him to teach and that teacher has said there has been no such authorization, and only minimal zen training.

Where there are other widely known facts about a teacher's misconduct, it is also a public service to make them known. There are many cases which do not meet the standards of evidence in a court of law, but which are serious and credible. It is important to warn people of centers where sexual abuse is well-known. It is important not to keep these things hidden because they are so potentially harmful. The Catholic church, for example, should have dealt with their pedophile priests long before the courts and the law got involved.

Beyond that, we do start getting into a lot of stuff that is pretty iffy. For example, I know of many people who have gone into therapy after starting zen practice because the practice brought up psychological issues for them that needed to be addressed through therapy. This is not uncommon, and many teachers actually recommend therapy for students who have serious psychological issues.

Also, I know of many very fine teachers who also have flaws and blind spots and areas where they are still growing and learning. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them because they are forthright, humble, and very good teachers by example.

Gossip hurts. Idle gossip should be avoided, and frequently is just rumors and rancor and anger that can be extremely destructive to the reputations, familes and careers of very good people.

But harmful behavior, deceit and ethical breaches should be carefully documented and made public when they concern anyone who purports to be a spritual guide for others. And, for serious zen practitioners, this should be done with compassion for all -- even, or maybe especially, for the suffering and delusion of the person who is engaging in harmful behavior, deceit and/or ethical breaches.

All just my opinions, of course.
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby So-on Mann on Tue Jul 09, 2013 8:58 pm

Gossip hurts. Idle gossip should be avoided, and frequently is just rumors and rancor and anger that can be extremely destructive to the reputations, familes and careers of very good people.

But harmful behavior, deceit and ethical breaches should be carefully documented and made public when they concern anyone who purports to be a spritual guide for others. And, for serious zen practitioners, this should be done with compassion for all -- even, or maybe especially, for the suffering and delusion of the person who is engaging in harmful behavior, deceit and/or ethical breaches.


Hello friends! Had enough spare time and energy to read this thread today, very interesting... I guess the potential for gossip caused my ears to prick up, I am watching a very human response arising in myself. And I feel myself thinking, "shame on him for taking advantage of people, taking their money, and especially for misrepresenting the Dharma!"

But I agree with Carol wholeheartedly that it is very very important to broadcast widely when someone like this is operating. Just as it is important to tell potential drivers about faulty brakes or tell potential diners about a salmonella outbreak. We can watch how we react with repulsion and such, and try to contain such reaction-- but the reluctance to stir such reaction should not stop us from telling people the truth about unscrupulous activity.
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby lobster on Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:41 am

I too agree with what Carol has said. The nature, necessity and method of expression is to correct a false teacher.

Why claim to be something one is not?


It is certainly true that the skilful will sometimes behave in quite unusual ways to empower others. This is not the same as usurping self interested justification of status, based on false accounting.

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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:57 am

unsui wrote:There is also an article from the same date, in which he speaks, but there is not much new in it: http://boeddhistischdagblad.nl/rients-ritskes-ik-bevind-mij-in-goed-gezelschap/
I can't understand Dutch, so I am in the dark about what he says in the interview, but in the article, it is reported that he compares himself to Hakuin. In that and other articles, he admits that there basically is no Buddhism in what he is teaching:

He speaks in a radio broadcast of the Dutchy Buddhist Network, and the articles take sections out of it.
As for comparing himself with Hakuin, somewhere at the end of the interview he says that Hakuin never got transmission himself and that people start calling him Roshi by themselves, thus he says "I'm in good company".
As for the admitting that there's no Buddhism in what he is teaching, he actually says: "we are to help people learn how to meditate, not to make people Buddhists, he admits that the Buddhism part is very scarce.
But again, any serious practisioner who ever looked at their program, should have been clear about this from the start.
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:11 am

So-on Mann wrote: I am watching a very human response arising in myself. And I feel myself thinking, "shame on him for taking advantage of people, taking their money, and especially for misrepresenting the Dharma!"


Sure but almost everything in this world is a misinterpretation, religion, politics, any media, anything commercial, power, or politically based. If the average humanoid had a bit of common sense it would hardly happen in the first place. And anyone can put a Zen or whatever label on anything and sell it as such,
though I thought "we the people" were actually in the business on seeing things as they are instead of seeing everything based on memories and expectations, desires and fears, likes and dislikes.
So I'm not really into the whole victim/purpretator thingy, is he an ass... yes ofcourse.
But I said that years ago, what "worries" me more is that only now the orginasation is being put in question after the whole false titel surface. "False" teachers (and students) are plenty, and they have a good way of finding each other usually, anyways he's an ass for lying, yet it happens all of the time, even with orginasations and teachers who did receive official transmission. So the moral of the story is I think that "Students" themselves need to be a bit smarter themselves for there are no guarantee what teacher you end up with, nor that you aren't already a "false" student yourself without knowing it.
I spoke to a friend yesterday who felt betrayed and what not, I simply told her well don't be an idiot and blindly trust and believe anything. (we communicate as such here, so calling someone an idiot is not offensive)
It's a matter of grasping, there's error on all sides. Do I know more BS teachers in this country, yes I do.
Just keep your eyes open, grasp nothing and turn nothing away.
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby Michaeljc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:43 am

.
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby fukasetsu on Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:01 am

Michaeljc wrote:This one short sentence emphasise why we must be very careful in our judgement and bias. Should there be any truth in this, then most of the argument about his being a false teacher is tipped on its head. I have no idea if it is true or not. The inference of this thread has been that he proclaims to be a Rinzai Zen Teacher.

As I said above that's not what he literally said, there are Buddhist elements in the group/teaching, but it's based on meditation mostly. Also often especially in this country do teachers speak of Zen is this, Zen is that, without the Zen Buddhism part. As I said it's all new-agy and commecial based on feel good and having control in life, has nothing to do with serious spiritual matters like liberation and stuff.

I know nothing about the man. I am using this case as an example only - of how there is an unfortunate mob mentality in humans that results in our jumping into an attack as a group when we smell blood. This is the driving force behind the waging of war. Its manipulation is the major tool of people in power.

On this board or do you mean in general?
I have no interest in such, as I said I know more of such groups in this country, I'm not the dharma police.
If years ago I would have found out that he (and his made teachers) had any sincerity regarding actual Zen/Chan Buddhism involving the Great Matter then I wouldn't even care if teached under false credentials,
but it seems to be an important point for others, saying others smell blood and go in for the kill, couldn't that itself already be a first cut? (just asking) people feel betrayed or just feel like a barbeque, you can;t compare it to dialy random demonisation of non-topis all day on tweeter or wherever.

What remains, is the technical question of his reputedly claiming transmission and formal titles. This claim, going on the hearsay we see written here, appears more robust. On this I make no judgement or comment. We should leave this to the Rinzai community.

Why has no one contacted him, asking him to read this thread and respond?

I just listened to the entire radio braodcast where he "defends" himself, what more ask him to say the same thing over and over? Unless we pay him I think he isn't really interested. :PP:
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby Michaeljc on Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:15 am

.
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby unsui on Wed Jul 10, 2013 9:58 am

Michaeljc wrote:
he admits that there basically is no Buddhism in what he is teaching:


This one short sentence emphasise why we must be very careful in our judgement and bias. Should there be any truth in this, then most of the argument about his being a false teacher is tipped on its head. I have no idea if it is true or not. The inference of this thread has been that he proclaims to be a Rinzai Zen Teacher.

I know nothing about the man. I am using this case as an example only - of how there is an unfortunate mob mentality in humans that (based on scraps of information) results in our jumping into an attack as a group when we smell blood. This is the driving force behind the waging of war. Its manipulation is the major tool of people in power.

What remains, is the technical question of his reputedly claiming transmission and formal titles. This claim, going on the hearsay we see written here, appears more robust. On this I make no judgement or comment. We should leave this to the Rinzai community.

Why has no one contacted him, asking him to read this thread and respond?

m

Please do not take things out of context - I think that you are going after "me" with claws unbarred, so that you can illustrate some point that no-one disagrees with, but which doesn't appear to be relevant here.

I wrote the sentence you cited with reference to the quote beneath from an interview this past June, translated by google, since Fukasetsu wasn't nearby ;) :
He feels inspired by Buddhism, but gave under a barrage of questions that Buddhism does not play a major role in the courses Zen.nl.


And, yes, this man has claimed since 1999/2000 to be a Rinzai Zenmester, having received transmission from Sokun Tsushimoto. None of this is hearsay. From wiki:
Another group consists of the Zen.nl organisation from Rients Ritskes, a student of Hirata Roshi of Tenryū-ji in Kyoto.[24] He studied in Kyoto in 1986/87, and claimed to be "officially authorised" by Sokun Tsushimoto Roshi in 1999.[25][26][27]


Claims of "Zen master":
http://web.archive.org/web/20120620164114/http://www.zen.nl/nieuws/actueel/Spiritualiteit220111-1.pdf

Also about him from Buddhanet.info: Tradition: Mahayana, Rinzai Zen: Rients Ritskes, Rinzai, Rients Ritskes, Sokun Tsushimoto, Seiko Hirata. Affiliation: zen.nl Rients Ritskes Phone: 07917758612

All this info, including his responses to the whole thing IS included here, now with links to the interviews and articles in which he responds to the situation. If you think it is important for him to respond more than is shown here, you are welcome to get in touch with him.

In this thread, I see no mob mentality, no "scraps" of information.
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Re: False teacher in Holland

Postby Jugglesaurus on Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:27 am

Michaeljc wrote:I know of a 'New Age' type teacher who claims to understand all spiritual disciplines. Zen is part of his curriculum.


I think this is different. "Zen" is not a protected term. People use it for all kinds of things unrelated to traditional zen practice. But when you make a very specific claim - like "this dude gave me transmission and this awesome certificate on Mars last week" or "I actually captured all 150 pokemon and defeated the Elite Four on Indigo Plateau, earning the title of Pokemon Master" - then if what you say is not the case, you're either mistaken or lying. Also, you are not only saying something about yourself, you are making a claim about another individual. If you publically state that Bob made you a zen master, you're affecting Bob as well as yourself.
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